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The Simpsons
The Complete Second Season

review by Zach B.

 

 

 

Starring the Voices Of: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer

 

Studio: Fox

Retail Price: $49.98

Features:
Disc 1:
Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Al Jean, Mike Reiss and David Silverman (Bart Gets An F), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Jon Vitti and Al Jean (Simpsons and Delilah), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Al Jean and Mike Reiss (Treehouse Of Horror - Act 1), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Jay Kogen, Wallace Wolodarsky and Al Jean (Treehouse Of Horror - Act 2), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Al Jean, Mike Reiss and David Silverman (Treehouse Of Horror - Act 3), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Al Jean and Mike Reiss (Two Cars In Every Garage and Three Eyes On Every Fish), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, David Issacs, Ken Levine, Mike Reiss and Mark Kirkland (Dancin' Homer), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Jeff Martin, Al Jean, Mike Reiss and Rich Moore (Dead Putting Society)

Disc 2: Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, George Meyer, Al Jean, Mike Reiss and David Silverman (Bart Vs. Thanksgiving), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Jay Kogen, Wallace Wolodorsky, Al Jean and Mike Reiss (Bart The Daredevil), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Al Jean, Mike Reiss and Jim Reardon (Itchy & Scratchy & Marge), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Mike Reiss and Mark Kirkland (Bart Gets Hit By A Car), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Nell Scovell, Al Jean and Mike Reiss (One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Al Jean, Mike Reiss and David Silverman (The Way We Was)

Disc 3: Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Steve Pepoon, Al Jean, Mike Reiss and Rich Moore (Homer Vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Mike Reiss and Mark Kirkland (Principal Charming), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Jeff Martin, Al Jean and Mike Reiss (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Jon Vitti, Al Jean and Jim Reardon (Bart's Dog Gets An F), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Jay Kogen, Wallace Wolodarsky, Al Jean and David Silverman (Old Money), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Brian K. Roberts, Al Jean and Jim Reardon (Brush With Greatness)

Disc 4: Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Jon Vitti, Al Jean, Mike Reiss and Rich Moore (Lisa's Substitute), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Mike Reiss and Mark Kirkland (The War Of The Simpsons), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Jeff Martin, Al Jean and Mike Reiss (Three Men and a Comic Book), Audio Commentary with Matt Groening, Al Jean and David Silverman (Blood Feud), American Music Awards with Optional Commentary, "Deep Deep Trouble" Music Video with Optional Commentary, "Do The Bartman" Director's Cut Music Video with Optional Commentary, Three Butterfinger Commercials, David Silverman on the "Creation Of An Episode," "Emmy Awards Presentation," Interview with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, Art of The Simpsons, Foreign Language Clips

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (6 Scenes per episode), Four Disc Set

Released: August 6th, 2002

 

 

Most likely the most popular animated series of all time, and the longest running situation comedy on air, "The Simpsons" has worked its way into the minds and hearts of millions with its outrageous situations, wide array of developed characters and of course, its amazing brand of humor and memorable lines. "The Simpsons" has truly worked its way into pop culture and has a large following out there, and after twelve years on the airwaves, it still shows no sign of slowing down. People, such as myself, can talk about episodes, recite them and just go on and on about them like there is no tomorrow. I still find it amazing how the show keeps going and how it continues to grow and develop, even though I have been a little disappointed in the later seasons as I find some of it to be recycled and not as funny. Still, I'll always remain a loyal "Simpsons" watcher no matter what, as I love the characters and the whole town of Springfield. Still, I'm not here to talk about the later seasons, I'm here to talk about where it all began.

To go back to the start in case you don't know, "The Simpsons" originally began as shorts on "The Tracey Ullman Show" from cartoonist Matt Groening, and from there it launched into its own series on the up and coming Fox network. The rest, as they say, is history. And with history, it's really hard to deny that "The Simpsons" has brought a lot to the world, the television industry and animation in general.

Like so much of the adoring public, I am a "Simpsons" freak. Thanks to the magic of syndication and taping episodes, I've seriously seen every single episode of the series dozens and dozens of time over. I always know what's going to happen next and I can pretty much recite dialogue from all the episodes by heart (yes, I'm that big of a freak). I have some merchandise of the show (something fans should have) and I can always get into an episode when in syndication no matter which one, despite the fact I've seen them so many times I really never get bored with them. Watching it on Sundays and in syndication every night is part of my viewing schedule. Every time I see an episode, I'm just sucked right into that magical town called Springfield.

The second season of "The Simpsons" is quite an interesting one. For one thing, the animation style was ten times better than the episodes in the first season. The character designs became more refined, the flow of the animation was much smoother, there were a lot more colors used and the colors looked more vibrant, and the show didn't have so much of a pale, flat and ugly look to it. While the animation would continue to improve in future seasons, this was certainly a great start as the show slowly started to find its highly original voice for what it'd be known for.

Still, the timing of the second season (1990-1991) is more notable. This is when America and so much of the world became obsessed with the show and it made its mark on pop culture. This is when much of the show's merchandising and mania hit its absolute peak. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing someone blurt out "Don't have a cow, man!" or wearing a "Simpsons" t-shirt. This DVD set takes us back to that time, as it does feature some awards show appearances and a good deal of major magazine covers (more on those in a bit). The show became even more popular and perhaps in some ways more controversial, not to mention the heated bouts against another revolutionary sitcom, that being "The Cosby Show." Oh yeah, and the show had more episodes this time around (for obvious reasons - it didn't debut in midseason).

I know in my review of season one I said I wasn't much of a fan of the second season, but I'd like to take that back. Looking back at many of these episodes, I realized there was a lot of great stuff here and some of the episodes featured are some of my absolute favorites. Granted, there are some episodes I'm not a giant fan of (like the Thanksgiving episode), but they still work for me and I highly enjoy them. Still, despite the mania that the show had around it at the time, and viewing all the episodes, one can cleary see that this is where the show started to grow. I guess the first season was more experimental. While the show didn't find all of its voice in the second season, it sure was able to whisper. I personally see the second season as a barrier of sorts. It has elements found in the first season, messes around more with individual plotlines, sparks new ideas and is more of a strong foreshadow of season three. And of course, season three is where things started to grow and finally, in my opinion, the show broke out and became what we know it as now during the fourth season. So basically, it lends itself into the past while strongly going forward to its future. To me, it's the best of both worlds of season one and season three.

But as I said, there are many classic episodes in the second season and surely a great deal to enjoy. Now sit back in your chair and listen to me babble on about each episode in season two...

Bart Gets An F - After Bart messes up a book report (a clear foreshadow of what could come), he attempts to study for his next history test but becomes too distracted. On the day of the test, Bart fakes illness and calls up Milhouse later that night to get the answers. Of course, Milhouse's answers are all wrong and Bart gets an F. Bart is soon informed that he is going to be held back, but convinces everyone that he deserves another chance. In hopes to do well, he makes a deal with Martin. If Martin helps Bart study, Bart will help Martin become more popular. However, on the night before the next test, Martin betrays Bart and ends up abandoning him. Bart prays for an extra day to study, and his wish is granted with a blizzard. But before he can go out and have a good time, Lisa tells Bart he heard his prayer and that he must go study. Despite Bart's best efforts, he can't quite concentrate and fails the test. But, his grade is raised to a D- when Bart screams out a history fact.

I think this is a pretty good episode that surely has its moments and one-liners. The relationship between Bart and Krabappel is expanded on, and further shows Bart as a bad student. It's a somewhat inspirational and entertaining episode.

Simpson and Delilah - Homer discovers a miracle hair formula called Dimoxinil while watching television, but can't afford it. After Lenny gives Homer advice that he can cheat the health insurance policy, Homer gets the hair formula and soon has a head filled with hair. This leads to much greatness for Homer, especially as he's promoted at work. Homer ends up getting an assistant named Karl (a perfect fit voice of Harvey Fierstein) who helps him out tremendously. But a jealous Smithers finds out that Homer ended up cheating the company to get the product. Karl ends up taking the fall for Homer, but things get worse when Bart accidentally breaks the bottle the formula is in. Homer ends up becoming bald and is not as well received as before. But his boss Mr. Burns has a nice change of heart by depromoting Homer, identifying with his baldness.

This is an episode where its parts are greater than its sum. It's actually a pretty clever episode in how Homer's luck makes him such a success, but I found it a little boring at times. Nonetheless, it has heart and is pretty fun.

Treehouse Of Horror - Yes, the one that started it all. "Simpsons" fans know that the "Treehouse Of Horror" episodes have become a giant staple in the show, as every Halloween a new "Treehouse Of Horror" debuts with three different far-fetched stories in honor of Halloween. This first one I do happen to enjoy, but it's not one of my favorite "Treehouse Of Horror"s. It's funny and has good spoofs of "The Twilight Zone," "The Exorcist" and some other horror/science fiction shows and films, but it's nothing too crazy compared to other years. Anyhow, the first part is called "Bad Dream House" and has The Simpson family moving into a haunted house that harasses them, "Hungry Are The Damned" has the family being abducted by space aliens (and marks the first appearance of Kang and Kodos) who are preparing to eat them and finally, "The Raven" which is a shorter and more fun "Simpsons" take on the classic Edgar Allan Poe poem.

Two Cars In Every Garage and Three Eyes On Every Fish - After Bart and Lisa find a three eye fish while fishing (go Blinky!), a journalist covers the story and it ends up meaning bad pr for Burns and the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. A team is sent to look into the matter of the toxic waste coming from the plant, and despite Burns trying to bribe them, they give Burns the option to clean it up or he will be shut down. Naturally, Homer gives the idea to Burns about passing laws as a governor, so Burns takes the idea and runs with it. Burns soon has good public relations and makes a fish with three eyes sound like a good idea. But when Burns decides to relate with the average working man and goes to the Simpsons house for dinner (with the media and all), Burns ruins his campaign when Marge serves a three eye fish, he takes a bite and spits it out.

A very good commentary on politics in general, the environment and more, this episode is smart and quite funny. It's always fun to see Burns' ambition and his tyrannical ways, and this episode is very entertaining and certainly one of the best shows in season two.

Dancin' Homer - Homer recounts his rise and fall as a baseball team mascot, that being "Dancin' Homer." As he wows crowds at a minor league game with his dancing stylings after getting drunk, the owner of the team offers Homer a full position as a mascot. The team, the Isotopes, ends up winning more games. Soon, he gets a job with the Capitol City Goofballs as a mascot, and the Simpsons move away from Springfield. But it's not all good as Homer is poorly received during his big chance, and is fired and moves back to Springfield. In the end though, he feels more like a winner than a failure to his listeners at Moe's.

It's a pretty decent episode if you ask me, and even features a song sung by the legendary Tony Bennett. Still, in the end, there aren't too many laughs and it's all a bit standard. This episode also features Torn Poston as the Capitol City Goofball.

Dead Putting Society - After Homer and Bart run into Ned Flanders and his son Todd at miniature golf, Homer thinks it might be a chance to upstage Flanders when he notices an upcoming miniature golf tournament. Homer intimidates Flanders and Flanders signs up and agrees to the challenge, and Homer makes it interesting later on by that the losing boy's father must mow the other one's lawn in a woman's dress. Bart feels pressured though, and Lisa helps clear his mind. In the end, Bart and Todd compete, each not liking the pressure or want to compete. The tournament is held as a tie, and both Homer and Flanders end up mowing one another's lawns in dresses.

This is also another strong episode from the second season. It plays out Homer's rivalry and dislike for Flanders perfectly, and the resolution to the conflict is very well done, keeping in perspective with all the characters. I wouldn't say the episode is laugh out loud funny, but it will make you chuckle. More of the laughs are "afterlaughs," that being realizing the humor after the episode has ended and in its crafted layers. Now on to disc two...

Bart Vs. Thanksgiving - Bart ruins Thanksgiving after Lisa's handmade centerpiece is thrown into the fire, after she and Bart argue where it should go on the table. Lisa is devastated that her work is ruined, and Bart is sent to his room. Bart ends up escaping and runs away. He soon finds a homeless shelter and gets a free meal there. He is then interviewed by a television crew there, and the family informs the police that Bart has ran away. Bart is about to go home after, but he's not sure if he should. He ends up hanging out on the roof thinking to himself about things, and ends up talks to Lisa, who's still upset. Bart apologizes and the two talk, and in the end, everything becomes happy and complete again.

For some reason, I'm not a big fan of this episode (and for some reason, I've seen it dozens of times). It's actually a more serious episode. It has some nice visual gags, but I think I found it too preachy and even a little sad for me when Bart ruins Lisa's centerpiece. We've seen stories with one sibling ruining the other's work before in other shows, so it's not too much new. It works here, and while the episode does have some nice moments, I don't the think the style goes well compared to other episodes.

Bart The Daredevil - After the Simpsons go see Truckasaurus, one of those car crushing arena events, their car is accidentally crushed by the machine. But at the show, Bart idolizes a performing daredevil named Lance Murdock who's own event goes wrong. Bart enjoys the thrill and danger, and wants to perform a stuntman. After becoming hurt during one of his own stunts, Lisa takes him to Dr. Hibbert to try and make sense of Bart's passion and gets to meet Lance Murdock himself, who encourages Bart. From there, Bart decides to jump Springfield Gorge. And from there, we know the story ("Everyone's sick of that 'Simpsons' memory!"). Homer stops Bart, ends up attempting the jump and falls to his bloody doom.

There's not much to say about this episode. It's pretty good, but I don't think it's an absolute classic. It has some pretty funny laughs throughout though, but once again it has Bart learning a tough lesson of sorts.

Itchy & Scratchy & Marge - Maggie hurts Homer with a mallet in the basement, and Marge soon realizes she got the idea from the cartoon show "Itchy and Scratchy." After Marge writes a letter to the producers of the show, the producers laugh it off. Marge ends up protesting in front of the studio, and catches on quickly. As the show receives a lot of bad press and ratings go down, Marge is soon called in for story ideas and the show becomes the exact opposite of what it used to be. However, Marge turns into a hypocrite as she supports the statue of David which is being shown off at a museum, and learns a thing or two about free speech.

This is surely a fine episode. It's pretty funny, but it has many valid points about freedom of speech and protests. It's also just a plain fun episode. I wouldn't be too surprised if the inspiration for this episode came from the show's own controversy and Bart being a "bad role model."

Bart Gets Hit By A Car - After Bart is hit by Mr. Burns' car after riding his skateboard, he is sent to the hospital. An attorney by the name of Lionel Hutz offers his services, but the family turns him down in some sort of rage (namely Marge). But when Burns plays softly with Homer, Homer calls up Hutz. This leads to some wrongdoing, as Bart's injuries become greatly exaggerated for court. As a lawsuit begins and the people involved in the trial sympathize with Bart, Mr. Burns realizes he will lose. He ends up making an offer of half a million to Homer, but Homer rejects it feeling he can milk Mr. Burns for more. Burns and Smithers spy on Homer and Marge after the offer is made, and Marge is soon called to testify, and the truth comes out. Upset, Homer questions his love for his wife as she has cost him a lot of money.

This is also one of the second season's best episodes. It's incredibly entertaining, funny and lampoons the court system in some way. More importantly though, it's finely balanced as far as story goes and introduces several key characters, such as Dr. Nick Riviera ("Hi everybody!") and lawyer Lionel Hutz, voiced by the late great Phil Hartman (bless his soul).

One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish - As Lisa wants the family to become more openminded, they end up going for sushi one night. Homer ends up eating blowfish, which has been prepared wrong and will most likely kill him. From there, Homer tries to make the best of the rest of his life in the next twenty-four hours. As Homer makes good with his kids, father, goes to jail and more, he makes the best of his last day on earth... only to wake up the next day to find out he's alive (of course, the show needs Homer).

This is one of those episodes that works quite well because of its content. It's pretty funny, but the message of not taking life for granted is used very slyly here and doesn't come off preachy at all. And it has George Takei as chef Akira. Sweet!

The Way We As - After the Simpsons' television is busted, Homer and Marge recount their love affair and meeting as seniors in high school. As Homer gains Marge's respect after developing a crush on her, he instantly loses her respect after he admits to scamming her by getting tutored in French, but not really needing it and was used to get to know her. Marge agreed to go with Homer to the prom before his admission, and after telling Homer that she hates him, Homer still thinks the date is still going on. However, Homer arrives at her house prom night only to discover that she had no intention of taking him after he his lie, and that she's going with smarty pants Artie Ziff. As Homer contemplates his feelings for Marge and is hurt by what a great time Artie and Marge have at the prom, things take a different turn when Artie tries to "get it on" with Marge with his "busy hands." Coming home, Marge realizes that she likes Homer and took the wrong person to the prom.

In my opinion, this is one of the best "Simpsons" episodes of all time. How it integrates the life and times of 1974 into the actual story is very well done, and the set up of Homer and Marge meeting works very well. How the two come together, fall apart and then come back together is just as good. The episode is also really funny and has a lot of smart laughs, not to mention great voice work by the hilarious Jon Lovitz as Artie Ziff, who would come back now and then to voice characters (and even comes back later this season).

Homer Vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment - After learning about the 8th commandment, Lisa is afraid that her family will go to hell since her father has illegally stolen cable. Lisa becomes very nitpicky when her family does anything wrong now, and ends up protesting a party Homer is throwing that involves a boxing match that is being aired on cable. During the fight, Homer realizes what he did was wrong and wants to set a good example. In the end, he ends up cutting the wire that connects the cable to the Simpsons household.

Like a good deal of episodes in this season, this one has a character facing and overcoming a moral challenge. This isn't one of my favorite episodes and it's not too funny, but I enjoy this episode because it has an overall positive message, and it has each character coming to terms with what they ethically know what's right and wrong.

Principal Charming - Homer is approached by Marge to help find Selma a suitable person for her to marry, since Selma is lonely. After a long search, Homer invites Principal Skinner over for dinner after he is called in to talk about Bart's latest string of bad behavior. Skinner ends up coming over, and falls for Selma's twin sister Patty instead of Selma. Things hit hard as Selma becomes more depressed and Skinner falls even more for Patty. But it all comes to a halt when Patty rejects Skinner's marriage proposal because of her sister.

This is a fairly good episode of the series. It has some nice movie parodies and a fine working of mistaken identities, but there's also a certain sweetness and innocence to it.

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? - Grampa suffers a mild heart attack, and Homer learns from him that he has a half-brother from an affair. Homer seeks out his half-brother, only to discover he is Herb Powell, a millionaire who runs a car company. Homer is pretty ecstatic that he is welcomed by his rich half-brother, and Herb decides to use Homer in designing a new car to save the company, a car made by the average man. From there, Homer's car, "The Homer," debuts and due to its price, it's a disaster. Herb loses everything he has, telling off Homer in the end.

This is also one of the second season's best episodes if you ask me. It's a pretty original storyline that works fairly well throughout, and has the family experiencing a different kind of life due to Herb's wealth. While I prefer the second Herb episode that aired in 1992 (that one ranks as one of my favorite episodes of all time), this one is very good. Danny DeVito is a perfect fit to play Herb - the way his voice and acting works makes it a great match.

Bart's Dog Gets An F - As the Simpsons' dog, Santa's Little Helper, becomes a bit reckless by destroying a lot of things, including Homer's expensive new sneakers, the dog is threatened to go to obedience school or will be exempt from the Simpson household. Bart takes him to a local school, but Santa's Little Helper can't seem to do anything right. The dog soon destroys the generational Bouvier quilt and Homer's big cookie, but he gets one more chance and can stay if he passes the final exam. Bart ends up giving a heartfelt speech to Santa's Little Helper, and from then on, he understands all of Bart's commands. Of course, he passes the final exam.

This isn't one of my favorite episodes either, but the plot is pretty nice as it revolves around Santa's Little Helper. I think it has some hearty laughs and is also a little sad and touching, but as a whole, the episode works pretty well. And it has Tracey Ullman!

Old Money - Grampa falls in love with a woman named Bea at the Springfield Retirement Home. The two hit off together and fall in love. But on the night of Bea's birthday, the family comes to take Grampa on their once a month trip, this time to Discount Lion Safari. After getting into an accident there, Grampa returns back to the home, only to learn that Bea has sadly passed away. Grampa remains bitter toward Homer for a little bit seeing how he stopped him from being with her for her last night on earth, but Grampa also inherits 100,000 dollars. Bea appears to him in a vision and tells him to use the money for good deeds, and Grampa hears people's suggestions out. Not liking their suggestions, Grampa goes to a casino and plans to bet it all, but Homer gets there in time to stop him. From there, Grampa realizes that there is more to life then money, and spends the inheritance by fixing up the rest home.

This is a decent episode and one of the better ones from season two. It's pretty funny actually, and like a lot of episodes of this particular season, has a good moral to go with it.

Brush With Greatness - After Homer gets stuck in a water ride at Mt. Splashmore, he sets out to lose more weight. While looking for his old exercise equipment, he comes across a portrait Marge drew of Ringo Starr. Marge takes sudden interest in her passion of painting again, and ends up going to a community college course. Her first portrait, that being of Homer, is beloved by her teacher, Professor Lombardo. He enters it in the Springfield Art Fair for her and she wins the competition. Mr. Burns notices this and is looking for someone to do a self portrait of him, and Marge takes the job. Marge begins to study Burns, and accidentally sees him getting out of the shower (naked, of course). As Burns torments the lives of the family, especially Homer and his weight loss, Marge quits the job. But soon after, she gets a long overdue thank you letter from Ringo Starr for a painting she did of him, and finishes the painting. Marge ends up drawing Burns naked and unveils the painting, explaining about inner beauty. Mr. Burns is a little shocked at first, but reluctantly excepts it.

Yes, another episode from this season with a pretty moral core. Still, it has it's pretty hilarious moments and is truly entertaining. Ringo Starr guests as himself, and Lovitz makes his second voice appearance this season as Professor Lombardo.

Lisa's Substitute - After Miss Hoover becomes paranoid about Lyme Disease, a substitute teacher is hired by the name of Mr. Bergstrom. Making learning very exciting for Lisa, Lisa instantly becomes smitten with him and the two end up sharing a very nice relationship. Meanwhile, Bart runs against Martin in class elections and is clobbering him. One day though, Lisa runs into Mr. Bergstrom at the closing of a museum. Lisa is accompanied by Homer and is embarrassed by him. As Mr. Bergstrom tries to talk to Homer how she needs a supportive male figure, Homer doesn't quite understand. The following week Mr. Bergstrom moves away, despite Lisa trying to get him to stay. Still, Mr. Bergstrom leaves her with a positive note. Bart ends up losing the election, and in the end, Homer mends things back together.

This is another personal favorite episode of mine, and probably the best episode in season two in my opinion. This episode is very even in its structure, and is also a lot of fun. There are some great lines in it, not to mention some genuine laugh out loud moments. It's a very solid and strong episode, with Sam Etic (AKA Dustin Hoffman) as Mr. Bergstrom.

The War Of The Simpsons - Homer gets drunk at a party they throw, and Marge signs she and Homer up for a weekend retreat that involves marriage counseling, hosted by the church. The retreat is being held at Catfish Lake, and Homer learns about the legendary fish General Sherman. One morning at the retreat, Homer sneaks away from Marge to go fishing, finds a pole and ends up trying to catch General Sherman. He eventually does catch him, and Marge sees that. Annoyed, Marge attends the sessions alone. When Homer returns, Marge talks with Homer about valuing what's more important. Feeling disappointed and guilty, Homer lets General Sherman go. Meanwhile, at home, Bart and Lisa throw a party and the house becomes a mess, and must clean up before Homer and Marge get home.

This is a very good episode, and is just one of the many times where Homer and Marge have marriage troubles. The episode is pretty heartfelt, is not a bit predictable, but still nice. I think it generates a good amount of laughs, especially with the Bart and Lisa party subplot.

Three Men And A Comic Book - After attending a comic book convention, Bart is offered the first issue of Radioactive Man for one hundred dollars. Desperate to buy the comic, he resorts to selling lemonade, beer, trading in foreign coins, looking around for money and finally, working for Mrs. Glick all week and only gets fifty cents. While at the Android's Dungeon (the comic book shop) one day, Bart meets up with Martin and Milhouse. They decide to pull their funds together to buy the issue. However, untrust unfolds between them as they are each unwilling to let another have the comic. They end up having a sleepover at Bart's treehouse. They read the comic, determine who gets the comic which days and go to bed. But during the middle of the night, Martin gets up, having to use the bathroom. Bart doesn't trust him, thinking he's out to steal the comic, and he ties him up. Milhouse is then victim of Bart's suspicions, and the two start to fight. As a major storm comes through, Milhouse is soon led to the edge of the treehouse and is being held by Bart. With his clothes being ripped, the comic ends up flying out of the treehouse and getting stuck on a branch. But it's no use. Bart saves Milhouse from falling, but the comic is destroyed by lightning. The next morning the trio try to find the pieces of the comic and put it back together, but it's hopeless.

This is my second favorite episode of season two, and definitely one of my all time favorites. And yes, like so many other episodes this season, it has a lot to say about ethics involving trust and sharing. It's very well paced, always funny (love that "Wonder Years" narration), has strong dynamics within its characters and is pretty thrilling. How it all ends definitely makes the episode work, though.

Blood Feud - This was a preseason bond which aired in August. A preseason bond comes before the season premiere and a bit after the season finale. Anyhow, Mr. Burns has hypohemia and needs blood to continue to live. No one at the plant decides to help Burns, but Homer wants to. He doesn't have the right match of blood, however, Bart does. Mr. Burns' life is saved and becomes stronger. Mr. Burns is grateful for the donation and sends the family a card, but Homer wants more. He writes Burns a nasty letter. Wanting to send it, Marge convinces him to sleep it over. In the morning, Homer thanks Marge and realizes it was the wrong idea after all, but can't find the letter. It turns out Bart has already sent it. Outraged, Homer tries to get the letter back and ruin the letter so it doesn't reach Burns, but it's no use. Burns soon gets the letter and is hurt, and ends up making Homer's life hell. Burns also orders Smithers to have Homer beaten up, but Smithers can't do it since Homer was ultimately responsible for saving Burns' life. Realizing this, Burns decides to buy them a gift and gets them a Olmec Indian head statue. Homer is disappointed by the gift and the family talks about the real moral to the story.

Yes, it's part of the second season and yes, it's another episode about morals. It once again puts a character in a terrible situation, only to be redeemed by themselves or someone else's act (as you can see, many of these episodes involve that and a moral factor). As I do like themes and morals, this one has another strong one about how one should do things for the right reasons, and not to be rewarded. The episode is also entertaining and funny ("Hello, my name is Mr. Burns. I believe you have a letter for me."). A strong episode to this season. Or in between this and the next. Or whatever.

As you can see, season two is quite strong and the show was starting to develop. Even though some episodes didn't exactly break new ground, they're all pretty fun and certainly entertaining, not to mention make great points about human life and human values. A lot of these episodes are must watches, so you casual viewers should definitely check them out.

 

Naturally, this second season of "The Simpsons" is presented in 1.33:1 full screen (yes, every episodes) and the results are simply great. I did think the transfers on the first set were very good, but I know some people were disappointed by them. The transfers this time around are major improvements, so much in fact, I could tell the difference between cel qualities and notice some changes in animation as each episode goes along. Yes, the transfers are slightly flawed with marks that aren't too noticeable here and there. But everything else is great. I didn't notice any noise or shimmering really through these episodes, and there really is such a smooth quality to them. The animation flows very smoothly most of the time, and the picture is rather crisp, clear and pristine. The color palette in the season two episodes is also expanded, and the transfers take note of that. Colors are strikingly bold, and do stand out showing off their vibrancy. Black levels and detail is also very good. Simply put, no one should be disappointed with these transfers, and they're probably the best I've seen yet for a television show on DVD. Enjoy!

 

Like the first season, the whole second season of "The Simpsons" has been remixed into full 5.1 Dolby Digital glory. Some of the effects feel a bit artificial for obvious reasons, and some elements sounded a little like a mono mixed into 5.1 if you ask me. But when it all adds up, it's a rather strong and rather broad experience. .1 LFE is used pretty good throughout the episodes. The music and main theme is presented very nicely through the speakers, while dialogue is crisp and clear. Music and other elements don't overpower the words you hear from the characters, which is always good. Fidelity is pretty high, and the surround use is very good. Be it Homer's struggle with General Sherman in "The War Of The Simpsons," the prom scene in "The Way We Was," the baseball games in "Dancin' Homer" or the stunt scenes like at Springfield Gorge in "Bart The Daredevil," there's good surround use throughout the episodes that are strong and make you part of the "Simpsons" experience just a little more. Overall, these are quite good for remixes. If you're not a fan of remixes, Dolby Surround tracks in English and French are offered. Also included are English subtitles, Spanish subtitles and English closed captions.

 

Every single episode in this disc set features an Audio Commentary. Creator Matt Groening is featured on EVERY SINGLE ONE, and the mix for each group is divided up throughout, depending on the episodes. Right here you get writers, directors, producers and creative talent behind the scenes such as James L. Brooks, Al Jean, Jay Kogen, Mike Reiss, Wallace Wolodorsky, Nell Scovell, Jeff Martin, David Silverman, Rich Moore, David Issacs, Jon Vitti, Mark Kirkland, Steve Pepoon and quite a few more. If you enjoyed the commentaries in the first season, it's really more of the same here. I did enjoy the commentaries for the first season, but I felt some people paired together didn't always work. Thankfully, Matt Groening, who created the show and is always highly involved with his work is to lend a hand in every commentary here to offer information if things fall flat. But Groening does a good deal of talking about the episodes, as well as those he is joined with. Some team members do talk more than others, but everyone does offer valuable input. Be it inspirations for plotlines, inspirations for characters, crafting stories, voice actors, the animation and fun production stories. You fans of the show like myself are going to go nuts... someone's always talking here, and just as I learned A TON about the show from the first batch of commentaries for the first season, I learned even more here. Great stuff and some fun laughs to be had too. You can really tell those who work on the show get along and have a good time making it. The show seems like quite a team effort. Overall, kudos to the creators and Fox for providing a commentary for EVERY episode for the show so far. "The Simpsons" has set the bar on television shows with DVD if you ask me... can't other shows have more than one or two commentaries and provide for EVERY episode? Anyway, in the future though I'd love it if the cast members contributed to some commentaries... hopefully that will become a reality.

Disc four houses the rest of the extras... and there's more here than last time which is always nice. First up is Bart's live action appearance at the American Music Awards. Sorry, this is just plain ridiculous and laughably bad. Nancy Cartwright, who voices Bart, is in full costume as him introducing the show and then co-presenting the award. A fun Optional Commentary with what seems like Al Jean and Matt Groening as well as a few others (they're no introductions of who's speaking) explain a little background about it, and that Nancy was pregnant and wasn't given proper instructions exactly. A fun watch, especially for you "Simpsons" hobbyists.

Next are two Music Videos. Anyone remember the classic album "The Simpsons Sing The Blues" and that two music videos were created and aired after episodes hyping it? I remember both of these pretty well... and I'm glad they're included here. The first video, Do The Bartman and is a "Director's Cut" of the video. It has an Optional Commentary with Creative Consultant/Director Brad Bird and Matt Groening. You may be familiar with Bird who directed 1999's animated "The Iron Giant." Bird does a lot of the talking, and brings a lot of insight and production stories onto making this. This video was completed in a mere two weeks in Hungary. The video was storyboarded in a mere two days without any pencil testing, and the animators had a lot to do seeing how this wasn't what they were used to doing, that being the stale, not "full" Tracey Ullman shorts. The video also made it in time to premiere worldwide. Very interesting stuff here, especially a bit involving Michael Jackson. Great commentary overall, but there's no mention on why this is a director's cut actually.

The second video, Deep Deep Trouble has an Optional Commentary with Matt Groening and Animation Director Greg Bansell. Groening does much of the talking, describing the video and that they can't hear the sound of what they're watching, but are familiar with it thanks to the poses of the characters. The two describe making the video and the style of it. Very cool. I really like both videos... they feel like real live action music videos, have nice visuals to go with the songs and the songs themselves are pretty catchy.

David Silverman on the "Creation Of An Episode" lasts a little over six minutes, and this is a featurette made during the production of the second season, so it's a bit dated but nonetheless interesting. Silverman talks about the steps that are used to create an episode and what happens. He then shows how he applies all those steps. Using the last "Treehouse Of Horror" segment, Silverman shows us the script, voice tracks, storyboards, footage of the animators, pencil tests, rough animation, redesigns and a little more. Pretty nifty.

Also from that same time period is an Interview with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks. This lasts a little over ten minutes. Brooks talks about the origins of the show making the jump from shorts to half-hour primetime series. It has clips from season two episodes, Groening's own inspirations, character motivations and a bit more. I didn't really gain much new information since I know a lot about the creation of the show and I'm such a diehard fan, but if you want more background, this is a good watch.

The Emmy Awards Presentation from September 1990 is included here too. The Simpsons present the award for Best Actor In A Comedy Series. The audience seems to love their animated antics, and while the words don't really match the lips, it's still pretty fun and what'd you come to expect from these award show animated thingies that still go on.

Remember when "The Simpsons" had all that marketing mayhem? Well, it still does with the candy bar Butterfinger, and three Butterfinger TV Commercials are featured here. Ah, nostalgia... also included is Art of The Simpsons which is broken down further into storyboards for "Bart Gets an F," storyboards from "Bart Vs. Thanksgiving," "Early Sketches and Drawings" and several magazine covers from the 1990-1991 season. Sweet. And finally, there are Foreign Language Clips for some of the opening scenes of "Two Cars In Every Garage and Three Eyes On Every Fish." Choose your language... Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and French. Interesting how the voices vary for each country.

It seems that each "Simpsons" boxed set will have a certain theme as far as its packaging and menus go. The first season featured vortexes (uh...) and were pretty basic, but this second season lends itself to a couch gag where all the family members heads are switched. You'll be quick to notice that this is the main packaging art, and the discs feature a character's body. The background behind where each disk is held though has four characters around a table, so depending how you position your disk in its holder, the body can match a different head.

Also, the menus are interesting and sorta fit the head theme. When you first pop in a disc, you can click a few times for the heads to scramble around before getting to the episodes. And the menus themselves for the episodes has an image from the episode, and a giant silhouette from a key figure in the episode overshadows it. Speaking of the menus, they're a big improvement from last time. They're a lot more animated, not as bland, more colorful, nice to look at and seem a bit more cleaned up in their interface slightly, even if the interface is modeled off last time.

 

"Simpsons" fans, this is an obvious no-brainer purchase (yes, you do need to own EVERY season). While I don't think the second season is the show's best season ever, it's certainly not one of its worst. The episodes here are quite enjoyable, and you can really see the show starting to grow and develop more characterwise, storywise and humorwise. The transfers are lovely and are an improvement over the first season, and the shiny new 5.1 mixes are great to boot too. Top this off with an audio commentary for EVERY episode and additional extras, and you got yourself a grand package. Even if you're a casual fan, this season is still worth looking into. Highly recommended! Now let's hope Fox brings out the next seasons at a faster pace...